Requires the terms of a motor vehicle sales contract entered into in the city of New York to be written in the language in which such contract was negotiated; requires retail motor vehicle dealers who negotiate primarily in any language other than English to deliver to the consumer a translation of such contract in the language in which such contract was negotiated; provides remedies to aggrieved consumers.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to requiring certain contracts to be written in the language in which such contracts were negotiated
PURPOSE: To ensure that persons with limited English proficiency understand the contract they sign when purchasing an automobile.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: The administrative code of the city of New York is amended by adding a new section 20-700.1 to include any retail automobile dealer who negotiates a contract primarily in a language other than English, orally or in writing, is required to give the consumer a translation of the contract in the language in which the contract was negotiated. Failure to comply shall allow the aggrieved consumer to rescind the contract.
Cancellation shall take effect when the termination is given to the retail dealer. If the cancellation is mailed, the day of the postmark is the date of the cancellation. There will be no penalty imposed by the retail dealer for cancellation. If the contract has been sold to a financial institution, any restitution from the consumer to the retail dealer, from the retail dealer to the consumer or from the retail dealer to the financial institution shall be made. At that point the retail dealer shall repurchase the contract from the consumer. The terms of the contract which are executed in the English language shall determine the rights and obligations of the parties. The translation of the contract in any of the languages specified in which the contract was negotiated shall be admissible in evidence only to show that no contract was entered into because of a substantial difference in the material terms and conditions of the contract and the translation.
JUSTIFICATION: New York State's population has become increasingly diverse. The number of New Yorkers who speak a language other than English as their primary language has increased significantly. According to a report by the Drum Major Institute, June 2005, almost 25 percent of New Yorkers do not speak English, and almost 50 percent speak a language other than English in the home. Asian immigrants account for 24.6 percent of this number. According to the 2006-2008 American community Survey, in New York city 48 percent of the population speaks other than English as their primary language. Of that forty eight percent, 23.5 percent speak English less than very well. This represents 1,821,098 people in NYC alone per the 2006-2008 survey.
Despite their growing and powerful presence in New York state, many new immigrants, because of their limited English skills, have found themselves to be easy targets for unscrupulous business owners. New immigrants have fallen victim to deceptive business practices that
attempt to prey on and profit from their inability to fully comprehend the English language. This is especially true in complex business transactions.
This predatory behavior is exemplified by unscrupulous car dealers who offer to negotiate in a consumer's primary language, only to present the consumer with a written contract in English - one which, unbeknown to the customer, may not accurately reflect negotiated terms. Many New York car dealerships have begun using translators to negotiate with non-English speaking consumers. However, when these verbal negotiations are put in writing, they are written in English without including a copy in the language in which the contract was negotiated. Non-English speaking consumers would gain a measure of confidence in dealing with dealerships who offer to meet their unique needs in this way.
Ethnic communities contribute greatly to the economic and political vitality of the state and serve as a powerful force in the marketplace. This law would provide much needed protection for non-English speaking consumers.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: Previously introduced.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None to the state.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the one hundred twentieth day after it shall have become a law and shall apply to contracts entered into on or after such date.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 898 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 5, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sen. STAVISKY -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Cities AN ACT to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to requiring certain contracts to be written in the language in which such contracts were negotiated THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The administrative code of the city of New York is amended by adding a new section 20-700.1 to read as follows: S 20-700.1 CONTRACTS IN CERTAIN LANGUAGES FOR THE SALE OR LEASE OF NEW OR USED MOTOR VEHICLES. ANY RETAIL MOTOR VEHICLE DEALER WHO NEGOTIATES PRIMARILY IN A LANGUAGE OTHER THAN ENGLISH, ORALLY OR IN WRITING, IN THE COURSE OF ENTERING INTO A CONTRACT FOR THE SALE OR LEASE OF A NEW OR USED MOTOR VEHICLE, SHALL DELIVER TO THE CONSUMER WHO IS THE OTHER PARTY TO SUCH CONTRACT AND PRIOR TO THE EXECUTION OF SUCH CONTRACT, AN UNSIGNED TRANSLATION OF SUCH CONTRACT, IN THE LANGUAGE IN WHICH SUCH CONTRACT WAS NEGOTIATED. A. IN ADDITION TO THE PENALTIES IMPOSED UNDER THIS SUBCHAPTER, FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION SHALL ENTITLE THE AGGRIEVED CONSUMER TO CANCEL SUCH CONTRACT. UPON A FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION, THE AGGRIEVED CONSUMER MAY CANCEL THE CONTRACT. FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, CANCELLATION SHALL BE DEEMED TO HAVE OCCURRED WHEN WRITTEN NOTICE OF CANCELLATION IS GIVEN TO THE RETAIL DEALER. NOTICE OF CANCELLATION, IF MAILED, SHALL BE DEEMED DELIV- ERED ON THE DATE OF THE POSTMARK. NOTICE OF CANCELLATION SHALL BE SUFFI- CIENT IF SUCH NOTICE INDICATES THE INTENTION OF THE CONSUMER NOT TO BE BOUND BY SUCH CONTRACT. IF A CONSUMER CANCELS A CONTRACT PURSUANT TO THIS SUBDIVISION, THE RETAIL DEALER SHALL NOT IMPOSE ANY PENALTY OR OBLIGATION UPON SUCH CONSUMER. WHEN A CONTRACT, WHICH HAS BEEN SOLD AND ASSIGNED TO A FINANCIAL INSTITUTION IS CANCELED PURSUANT TO THISEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD00037-01-1 S. 898 2
SECTION, SUCH CONSUMER SHALL MAKE RESTITUTION TO AND HAVE RESTITUTION MADE BY THE RETAIL DEALER WITH WHOM HE OR SHE MADE THE CONTRACT, AND SHALL GIVE NOTICE OF CANCELLATION TO THE ASSIGNEE. NOTWITHSTANDING THAT THE CONTRACT WAS ASSIGNED WITHOUT RECOURSE, THE ASSIGNMENT SHALL BE DEEMED CANCELED AND THE ASSIGNOR SHALL PROMPTLY REPURCHASE THE CONTRACT FROM THE ASSIGNEE. B. THE TERMS OF THE CONTRACT WHICH IS EXECUTED IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE SHALL DETERMINE THE RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS OF THE PARTIES. HOWEVER, THE TRANSLATION OF THE CONTRACT IN ANY LANGUAGE OTHER THAN ENGLISH IN WHICH THE CONTRACT WAS NEGOTIATED SHALL BE ADMISSIBLE IN EVIDENCE ONLY TO SHOW THAT NO CONTRACT WAS ENTERED INTO BECAUSE OF A SUBSTANTIAL DIFFERENCE IN THE MATERIAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE CONTRACT AND THE TRANSLATION. C. THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION SHALL BE IN ADDITION TO ANY OTHER RIGHTS TO REVOKE AN OFFER. S 2. This act shall take effect on the one hundred twentieth day after it shall have become a law and shall apply to contracts entered into on or after such date.